Like other pets, hedgehogs need your love and care to remain healthy, happy, and strong. But, these unique animals also require unique attention. You need to think about its diet, habitat, and other factors to maintain its healthy well-being.
With that in mind, here are three tips to help keep your hedgehog as fit and healthy as possible.
1. Keep Them Warm
Different hedgehog species may not have a natural affinity for the cold. Thus, you should find ways to keep your small pet warm during the cold months.
Keeping them warm means using different available heating options. Some choices might already be around your house.
Here are a few examples to help keep your hedgehog heated when it starts to shiver from the cold temperature.
- Heating Pad: Human heating pads are ideal for relaxing sore and stiff muscles. But, you can also use this contraption to deliver warmth to your hedgehog.
Make sure to adjust the device, so it’s not too hot. Your pet might jump out of the pad if it thinks the pad is scalding. Always keep in mind that some burns aren’t immediately visible, but the damage may appear after a couple of days.
- Space Heaters: You can avoid burning your poor hedgehog by putting a space heater in the room since these heaters don’t tend to get too hot. As a bonus, many of these devices are available at the market for a low cost.
- Heat Bulbs: If you choose to use heat bulbs to bring comforting warmth to your hedgehog, aim to use black or red variants. These options won’t disrupt the animal’s natural light cycle, which would otherwise be an issue if you use continuous white light.
These heating options may use electricity to generate heat in an area. So, power outages can become a problem to give your pet proper warmth.
As a solution for this, wrap your small animal companion in heavy blankets when the power goes out. Another option is to keep the pet in extra pieces of fleece.
2. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Depending on the type, hedgehogs tend to be insectivores or omnivores. For example, the European hedgehog is an omnivore, whereas the Southern African hedgehog has a diet primarily comprised of insects.
But, most hedgehog species should have little to no problem eating an omnivore diet. However, each type may have slightly different diets. Always consult your veterinarian first before feeding your tiny animal friend a specific kind of food. Moreover, you should research more about hedgehog facts to ensure you don’t increase the risk of harming your pet when introducing or changing its diet.
Nonetheless, here’s a quick list of food items you may feed your hedgehog pet:
- Mealworms: Hedgehogs have the distinct ability to digest a substance called chitin from insects. This compound is in the exoskeleton of insects, and it’s a primary source of protein and fiber for your pet.
Live or freeze-dried mealworms are excellent sources of chitin for hedgehogs. The former option is an ideal source of nutrients to promote mental stimulation.
- Fruits: As treats, feed your hedgehog small amounts of fruit. Some popular choices include apples, berries, and melons.
Don’t feed your pet dried fruits as these food options can disrupt their digestive systems.
- Cooked Meat: If you plan on feeding your hedgehog meat, opt to give it high protein and low-fat cat or dog food.
Cooked chicken is also a decent option, but offer these food items in small amounts.
Protecting the health of your hedgehog pet is better than cure. Make sure you feed your small animal companion the right food items to help improve and maintain its well-being.
3. Watch Out for Signs of Diseases
Hedgehogs aren’t immune to illnesses. For you to act quickly, it’s important that you should watch out for the symptoms of specific diseases.
Watch out for signs like:
- Severe diarrhea
- Unknown fatigue or weakness
- Continuous shaking
When you see these symptoms on your pet hedgehog, transport the small animal in a compact and secure container to your local veterinarian. Failure to act fast may result in your pet experiencing severe and potentially life-threatening complications.
Hedgehogs are terrific pets in the right homes. These small, cute little creatures can fit right into loving families.
But, you and every other household member should know the proper steps to care for these little ones to maintain their excellent well-being. Hopefully, the pieces of information posted above will help you care for your hedgehog pets.
Don’t forget to consult a veterinarian for other pieces of advice that can help maintain the health of the animal.